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De Lima thanks Sotto for kind words, longs for freedom

Senator Leila de Lima has thanked her Senate colleagues, led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for recognizing her work in the Senate while in detention.

De Lima, who has been detained on drug-related charges since February 17, 2017, was referring to Sotto's final speech on the last session day of the 17th Congress on Tuesday, in which he described De Lima as an embodiment of professionalism.

“In all humility and sincerity, I thank Senate President Vicente Sotto III and my colleagues at the Senate for acknowledging my efforts and hard work as a Senator despite my political persecution. Their support, with the assistance of my diligent and competent staff and the relevant units of the Senate secretariat, have made all the difference in achieving our shared goals for the Filipino people,” De Lima said in a statement.

She added that the combined efforts of the aforementioned people have resulted in the quality of work by the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, of which she serves as the Chairperson.

De Lima then urged her Senate colleagues to continue to stand for measures that could benefit the poor and the marginalized sectors in the coming 18th Congress.

“I pray that the Senate will always stand on the side of truth, justice and democracy. Mabuhay si Senate President Sotto, mabuhay ang Senado,” she added.

Sotto is allied with President Rodrigo Duterte, who has accused De Lima of receiving drug money payoffs during her tenure as Justice Chief during the Aquino administration. De Lima, who is one of Duterte's most vocal critics, has strongly denied his allegations.

De Lima, however, conceded that her work is best done outside detention.

“On a personal note, my fervent wish and prayer is for me to attain vindication and freedom soonest, so I can do more and serve more in the second half of my term, with God’s loving grace,” she added. — BM, GMA News

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